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INTERVIEW - VLADI KOVANIC: "THE SPA AND WELLNESS SECTORS CONTINUE TO EVOLVE TO MEET A WIDER RANGE OF NEEDS AND DESIRES" (France)

The 16th Hotel & Spa Forum will be held on 30 May 2024 at the Four Seasons Hôtel Georges V.

INTERVIEW - VLADI KOVANIC: "THE SPA AND WELLNESS SECTORS CONTINUE TO EVOLVE TO MEET A WIDER RANGE OF NEEDS AND DESIRES" (France)

The 16th Hotel & Spa Forum will be held on 30 May 2024 at the Four Seasons Hôtel Georges V.

Category: Europe - France - Industry economy - Exclusive experiences - Trends / Expert's advice Calendar - Interviews
Interview made by Romane Le Royer on 2024-04-30


This is the long-awaited wellness event for professionals in the sector. The Hôtel & Spa forum, which has been welcoming the big names in the spa and thalasso industry since 2008, will this year be tackling the theme of "Wellness - the bold choice".

As every year, the forum will be enlivened by conferences given by experts in the spa, thalassotherapy, and thermal spa sector, as well as by the presentation of the Blue Diamond and Black Diamond awards, honouring a personality from the spa sector and a personality from the thalassotherapy sector respectively.

A Red Diamond award will also be presented to a personality from the wellness sector, as was the case for the 15th edition, which took place on 1 June 2023.

With just a month to go before the event, Vladi Kovanic, creator and organiser of the Hotel & Spa forum, looks back on the preparations for what is already shaping up to be a highly successful event:

Journal des Palaces : How would you define the theme "Wellness - the bold choice"?

Vladi Kovanic : The theme "Wellness - the bold choice" can be interpreted as an innovative and courageous approach by investors and therapists. Here are some key aspects that could define this theme :

-Design and environment :
Creating spaces that dare to be out of the ordinary, using unique architectural designs or exceptional locations

-Innovation in treatment :
Experiment with "avant-garde" or unconventional care techniques. This might include using biotechnology for personalised care, integrating augmented reality for meditation experiences, or using new therapeutic devices.

-Bold sustainability :
Making a firm commitment to environmentally sustainable practices that go beyond the usual standards, such as achieving zero waste, using only renewable energy, or creating fully biodegradable skincare products.

-Offer unique experiences :
Offer packages or experiences that are not just about relaxation but aim to transform or provoke deep reflection in the individual, such as technological silence retreats.

How many people are you expecting to attend the 16th edition of the show?

For this 16th edition, we are expecting 120 participants. Our event adopts a boutique format to ensure a quality experience, where every participant can share and benefit fully from the discussions. We are therefore limiting the number of places to preserve this intimate and interactive environment.

What are the highlights of this year's event? Who are the key speakers?

The theme "Wellness - the bold choice" suggests a courageous and creative exploration of the potential of wellness, pushing back the boundaries of what is traditionally accepted or expected in the field of "wellness". It incorporates innovative ideas, cutting-edge technologies, or philosophies that are out of the ordinary, embracing practices that are both innovative and deeply enriching. Our eminent international speakers include Dr Christian Harisch (CEO of Lanserhof Austria), Hans Peter Veit (Director of Spa & Recreation at Appenzeller Huus Gonten) and Hannes Illmer, owner of Villa Eden in Bolzano.

What are the new Wellness trends in the spa, thalassotherapy, and thermal spa sectors?

The trends in Europe continue to be a move away from the traditional reservation channels (telephone at the hotel or travel agency) towards online reservations, which tend to favour the notion of price and don't allow establishments to stand out from the crowd.
In the future, we will have to show that we are different in ways other than price, displaying our visions and offering genuine cures, like Lanserhof, for example.
Tailor-made, simple products and innovative, exciting concepts are fortunately flourishing. Customers are demanding this type of product, and of course 'Medi-wellness' because Europe's population is ageing. This is the future of our sector.

What are the new consumer expectations in these areas?

Consumer expectations in the spa and wellness sector have evolved over time, reflecting broader trends towards overall health, personal well-being, and sustainability. Here are some of today's key expectations :
- Personalised experiences : Customers are looking for treatments and services that are tailored to meet their specific needs, whether it's skin problems, muscle tension, or the need for deep relaxation.

- Sustainability and ethics : There is a growing awareness of the environmental and social impact of products and services. Consumers expect spas to use eco-responsible, organic products and to adopt sustainable practices in the management of their establishments.

- Mental and emotional health : In response to increased awareness around mental health, many spas now offer services that target emotional and mental wellbeing, such as counselling sessions or mindfulness practices integrated into spa treatments.

- Flexible packages and memberships : Consumers are looking for options that offer flexibility in terms of payment and attendance, such as monthly memberships or customisable packages.

Taken together, these expectations show that the spa and wellness sectors continue to evolve to meet a wider range of needs and desires, going well beyond traditional massages or beauty treatments.


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